Lexington, Ky.-- Ellie Harman is the owner of High on Art and Coffee and treats every customer who walks through her doors like family.

  • High on Art and Coffee has been open for four years 
  • The cafe also features the work of local artists 
  • The cafe is owned by Ellie Harman and her husband Tim 

With the government shutdown spanning into its third week she sat down with her husband over the weekend to try and figure out how they could help.

Their solution was to offer free lunch to any furloughed federal employee with a government identification card.

It's only a been a few days but she's hoping the word will spread quickly.

"I've had zero paychecks in the past not due to a government shutdown but due to other reasons and I’ve been there and I know what it is like and it's very important to me to give back." Harman said. "People shouldn't go hungry and children shouldn't be going hungry."

She says her menu is already pretty budget friendly.

But with no money coming in, three or four bucks for sandwich or soup becomes a luxury many federal employees simply can't afford.

Especially when electric bills and car payments are due.

"Maybe if somebody has a full belly they are going to feel better about the other things that maybe aren't going so right in their life," Harman said. 

She's only served a few federal employees so far but says she hopes folks will put their pride aside and come enjoy a meal free of charge.

For Harman and her staff it's not a handout.

"I'm mom or your aunt or your grandma and you come and say I’m hungry mom and I’m going to feed you just like if you went to your mother and said I’m hungry she's going to feed you," Harman said.

And that feeling of family is something that keeps customers coming back.

We talked to one customer who can’t believe the longest shutdown in our history, isn’t over yet.

"I pay to come here and I think it's amazing for people to have the opportunity that might need that extra help right now to get this experience because it's more than just the food," Meadow Smith said. 

Harman plans on serving up free lunches through duration of the shutdown even it means calling on the community for donations.

She says she might not have much to give but what does she's willing to give freely.

"This is a step towards helping the community and we'll see what happens from here," Harman said. 

Lunch is served everyday Monday through Friday from 7am until 6pm, Saturday from 10am to 6m, and on Sunday from 10am until 3pm.       

High on Art and Coffee is located at 523 East High Street in Lexington.